The New England Journal of Medicine’s current issue includes an analysis by Aaron Belkin, Ph. D., director of the Palm Center and political science professor at San Francisco State University: Caring for Our Transgender Troops –The Negligible Cost of Transition-Related Care.
With Mike Huckabee basically decrying the potential medical cost of having transgender troops serve this country, Belkin decided to estimate how much we were talking about. Being a retired math professor, I couldn’t resist double-checking Belkin’s calculations.
The Congressional Research Service issued a report on April 28 which stated that the Department of Defense should seriously consider following the lead of the Justice Department, which at the end of 2014 announced that transgender federal employees would be added to the list of people protected against discrimination by the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The report was unearthed by the Federation of American Scientists and made available at the blog, Secrecy News
The document is entitled CRS Insights, and subtitled What are the Department of Defense (DOD) Policies on Transgender Service?. It was written by Kristy N. Kamarck, who is described as an analyst in military manpower.
On December 18, 2014, then-Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Department of Justice would take the position in litigation that the protection of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 extends to claims of discrimination based on an individual’s gender identity, including transgender status. While Title VII does not apply to military personnel, for some, this change in the Administration’s position has raised questions about U.S. law and DOD policies as they relate to transgender individuals.
I am no longer Mia. I never really was. And now I finally stand before you in my true and authentic gender identity as Tom. I stand before you as a thirteen-year-old boy.
For a while, I dismissed the fact that I hated my body. I pretended to be content with what I was assigned until, at a certain point, I broke.
I went through a series of horrible breakdowns. And I would stand under the water in the shower crying. I knew I wasn’t happy.
I really hope that you all will support my decision to embark on a harder route in life as the boy I truly am. Any form of support I receive with much gratitude and I hope that everyone can really support me because you guys are like my second family. And if you support me, I’ll feel like the luckiest boy in the world. Thank you for letting me share my story.
In my heart, I am still the same person. Whether you like that person or not, it’s me.
Tom adds: “To all those struggling to embrace their true and authentic gender or sexuality, I want you to know that if no one else accepts you, I always will.”
In an interview with Capitol Download’s Susan Page on Wednesday Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said that the ban on transgender troops is likely to be reassessed in the near future and that she believes it should be lifted.
Times Change. [The current policy] is likely to come under review in the next year or so.
From my point of view, anyone who is capable of accomplishing the job should be able to serve.
You know, I think that is likely to come under review in the next year or so. So I think we should stand by, and times change, and we’ll just have to see what happens there.
James is the first secretary of a branch of the armed forces to openly support the idea of ending the ban on transgender troops.
The Williams Institute has estimated that there are currently about 15,500 transgender people now serving in the US military.
Conservative forces say allowing transgender troops to serve openly would create complications on issues of housing and health care.
Aaron Belkin of The Palm Center called James’ remarks a positive step.
President Obama is the commander in chief and is ultimately responsible for setting policy, and it is imperative for him to clarify his position as well.
[James’ remarks] provide further proof that it is only a question of when, not if, the outdated, discriminatory ban on transgender troops will be lifted.
La Feria, TX high school senior Jeydon Loredo just wants to have his picture in his high school yearbook. But La Feria Independent School District Superintendent Rey Villareal has a big problem with that. You see, Jeydon was born and raised to be female. But, like transgender people everywhere, that didn’t take.
Villareal has told Jeydon’s mother that Jeydon can have his picture in the yearbook only if he wears stereotypically feminine attire, like a blouse or a drape. The superintendent does not take responsibility for this decision, however. Having only been in the job for four months, he says he is deferring to Jeydon’s principal. Villareal says the student handbook is clear: the suitability of each photo which appears in the yearbook is subject to the judgement of the principal. Jeydon’s family says that in fact Villareal made the decision, not the principal.
Jeydon has everything right in his statement:
I’ve lived here my whole life, and I’ve grown up with the kids here. I’ve seen those in my community go through troubles, and denying my tuxedo photo would be a way for the district to forget me and everything I’ve brought to this community. The yearbook is for the students, not the faculty or the administration. It is a way for us to remember each other.
In 2007 Iowa added gender identity to the state’s nondiscrimination policies. In the fiscal year 2008, there were six complaints filed with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission on the basis of gender identity. That has increased to 51 complaints in the fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2013. Beth Townsend, director of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission attributes that to increased awareness about the Iowa Civil Rights Act.
The new law does require … that individuals are permitted to access (restrooms) in accordance with their gender identity, rather than their assigned sex at birth, without being harassed or questioned.
–Sara Stibitz, civil rights specialist with the Commission